Wedding photography is one of the most popular genres out there. If you don’t believe me, take a look around the room the next time you get invited to a wedding.
Nearly every guest is documenting every detail of the wedding – right from the bride walking down the aisle to the happy couple sharing their first dance.
Now, not everyone is taking photos with a professional grade camera. Most guests will be using a mobile phone or even a great entry level DSLR camera.
But weddings are such a happy moment that people almost always feel compelled to take photos.
True wedding photography, the one where the couple hire a professional experienced in this line of work, isn’t as easy as carrying a camera and snapping pictures of the happy couple. Nor is it as glamorous as it may seem.
But there are still some really awesome things about being a wedding photographer.
Here are my top 12 reasons why I really love being a wedding photographer.
1. You’re Part of Someone’s Special Day
Weddings are truly one of the most special moments in a person’s life. There is so much emotion all around and people seem to really put away their differences (for the most part) and come together to celebrate as a family.
Being surrounded by all that love and warmth is something I really enjoy. The way a mom’s eyes mist up when she sees her son all grown up ready to start his own family, that instant when a dad realises that his little girl is not so little anymore, the first kiss between a married couple!
What can I say – I am a hopeless romantic at heart and really enjoy being part of someone’s special day. There is always something going on and each wedding I photograph is different from the previous one.
You get to spend the day capturing romance, laughter, joy, anticipation, excitement, and many other photographic moments for your clients.
2. Wedding Photography Is About More Than Just Photos
As a wedding photographer, I find myself wearing so many different hats throughout the day. I am working through many different styles of photography like candid shots, family portraits, environmental details, food and florals.
And I’m also using soft skills like relationship building, emotional support, coordinating family dynamics, easing last minute nerves and problem solving in a fast paced environment.
Sometimes bridal flowers don’t arrive on time or the bride is missing her shoes and cannot remember where she put them. A lot is happening and often at the same time.
My multi-tasking skills have definitely vastly improved since I became a wedding photographer.
3. You’ll Develop Great Technical Skills
There is so much more to taking a photo than simply clicking the shutter. A lot of things need to align in terms of lighting, composition and subject matter. These are particularly important when you are taking wedding photos.
There have been weddings where I have had the perfect light, location and couple whereas other times everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Bad weather forced the ceremony to be moved to an indoor location with terrible lighting and I had to perfect using multiple off camera flashes very quickly.
Oftentimes you don’t have the luxury of analysing all the factors at your own pace. During a wedding, things move very quickly and you have to react to all that is happening with a sense of urgency.
Wedding days can also be long in terms of hours where you have to be fully functional both mentally and physically. If anything, photographing a wedding makes you stronger in terms of your technical, physical and emotional skills.
Making split-second decisions also become second nature as you learn problem solving skills with so much more confidence.
4. You’ll Recognise Story-Telling Photography Moments More Easily
Weddings are a treasure chest of multiple stories built in throughout the day. As you photograph a wedding, you learn to recognise when a beautiful story is being played out right in front of you complete with characters, outfits, props, emotion and action. You just need to know where to look.
A father-daughter exchange, a bride reading a letter from her groom, a mother fixing her daughter’s veil, mother and son sharing a dance – these are just a few of the wonderful stories that you get to experience during a wedding.
Making sure you capture all these moments throughout the day will help you understand the art of visual narration and how to add depth to your photos so much better.
5. You’ll Build Relationships Within the Industry
The wedding industry is comprised of so many incredibly talented vendors and creatives. A wedding photographer is one of the most important people at a wedding.
Many of the vendors really look to the photographer to not only capture the couple with their product and/or service but also to showcase their work and talent in a professional light. Be good to the vendors you work with and you will make friends for life.
These people know and understand what it is like to work in the wedding industry and wedding market, and are always willing to go the extra mile for colleagues/peers who treat them right.
I have made so many amazing friends in this industry and have enjoyed building mutually beneficial relationships with many vendors. They are an amazing source of support, advice, and friendship!
7. You’ll Become More Creative
Wedding photography can be a great way to explore and nurture your creativity. Doing something different and outside the box will get your work noticed among many other photographer who might be just happy with the status quo. Give yourself permission to explore your creativity.
Perhaps get the ‘safe’ shot and then try the same photo in a different light and technique. This sort of creative freedom of expression is really great for your growth as an artist.
And brides and grooms are always excited when they get to see themselves in atypical wedding photos.
Additionally, no two weddings are ever the same. Work is always interesting and challenging and never mundane or boring.
8. You’ll Have a Diverse Photography Portfolio
If you have been in the photography industry long enough, you know how competitive the market is. Photography is a field where the barrier to entry is relatively low based on the easily available technical education online and the price of an entry level DSLR camera.
It seems like every day thousands of people say they’re a photographer because they have a camera and took a 1-hour online class.
If you have been doing this for a while, you know that one of the toughest things about being a photographer is getting a steady stream of clients.
The good thing with wedding photography is that if you do a good job with a client, they are likely to keep coming back to you for more life events like maternity photos, baby photos, family and friends engagement photography etc.
And they will also refer you to their friends.
9. You’ll Expand Your Cultural Repertoir
I love photographing weddings of other cultures and traditions that are different from my own. They help me get insight into people from other cultures and make me so much more knowledgeable in how they think and behave.
Plus I get to interact with people from all walks of life and always walk away learning something new.
If you are a destination wedding photographer, then you get to travel the world to do what you love to do – can you think of a better way to earn a living?
Destination wedding gigs are certainly a lot harder to get and take a lot of work to get your name out there enough to be hired but it is completely possible.
10. You Get to Photograph Happy Moments
People spend many hours preparing and getting ready for their big day. More often than not, professional hair and makeup is involved, fancy clothes are worn and people are happy and look beautiful not only from the outside but also inside.
The joy that radiates from a happy bride and groom is infectious and you cannot help feel happy and euphoric to photograph them on one of the most important days of their life.
11. Your Work Can Have a Significant Impact
Take away all the superficial elements for a moment and really think about what wedding photography is all about. It is the unique opportunity to capture an important day in someone’s life and give them the gift of freezing that moment in time for all eternity.
How often have you looked at your parents’ or even grandparents’ wedding photos and shed happy tears for the joy of being a part of that experiences via the images. The albums and photos you create for your clients become treasured family heirlooms that are passed down from generation to generation.
This intrinsic value is becoming more and more apparent as wedding photography is trending towards documenting the feelings and emotions of the special day as opposed to just a traditional wedding portrait taken in a studio setting.
12. Your Schedule Will be Flexible (Mostly)
In most countries, weddings are very seasonal. This means that there are some months in the year where you will be really busy. But other months might be light in terms of photography work.
This can mean a break from photographing weddings and focusing on other aspects of your business like marketing and networking.
Additionally, if you have a family and kids, this means you can spend more time at home during the off-season. It can give help you achieve some work/personal life balance.
Wedding photography is truly an amazing gift that we photographers give to our clients. Do the best you can to give everyone a great experience when they have their picture taken. You’ll make people happy and appreciative of what you can do for them.
Beyond the money, the fame and the creative satisfaction, that’s the most exciting part of being a wedding photographer.
For more great wedding tips, check out our article on making sure you’re covered by your wedding photography contract or the best lens for wedding photography.